News for September 4, 1998

Contracts and Transfers

* Danish rider Michael Blaudzun from Team Deutsche Telekom won't get his contract extended with the German team for the next season. Blaudzun says that he has already negotiated with other teams (perhaps Team home Jack and Jones from Blaudzun's hometown Herning, who has just announced that they will extend their squad from 10 to 14 riders next season).

* Summary to date:

Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi to Cofidis (3 year contract)
Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mapei-Bricobi to Lampre Panaria
Laurent Brochard  (Fra) Festina to Casino
Pascal Richard  (Swi) leaving Casino to ?
Francesco Casagrande (Ita) sacked from Cofidis to ? (6 months suspension)
Nico Mattan (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi to Cofidis (3 year contract)
Steven de Wolf (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar to Cofidis (part of VDB deal)
Peter Farazijn  (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar to Cofidis (part of VDB deal)
Guiseppe Guerini (Ita) Polti to Telekom
Jörg Jaksche (Ita) Polti to Telekom
Frank Høj (Den) Palmans-Ideal to US Postal
Phillip Buschor (Swi) Saeco to Festina
Markus Zberg (Swi) Post Swiss to Rabobank (joining his brother)
Niki Aebersold (Swi) Post Swiss to Rabobank
Wladimir Belli (Ita) Festina to Lampre-Panaria
Rolf Huser (Swi) Post Swiss to Festina
Gilles Maignan (Fra) Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne to Casino
Jean Cyril Robin (Fra) US Postal to La Francaise des Jeux
Nicolai Bo Larsen (Den) TVM to Team home Jack and Jones - speculative

Riis and Tonkov out of Vuelta

Bjarne Riis is still so bothered by the injury he picked up in the Tour de France and kept him out of the Tour of Denmark, that he has now decided not to participate in the Vuelta a España.

Pavel Tonkov will also definitely miss the Vuelta. He has broken his tailbone and he will be out for six weeks. He will probably will be out for the rest of the season.

Museeuw Back

Johan Museeuw will be back in the peloton on Saturday. Museeuw will start in a derny race in the Omloop Mandel-Leie-Schelde in Meulebeke (Belgium) next Saturday. It's his first race after his fall in Paris-Roubaix. The ex-world champion isn't back to his normal level of training and fitness, but he hopes that with special training and targetted competition he will be back to his top for 1999.

Dutch Time Trial Championships

Women, 22.4 kms: 

 1. Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel (Ned)                  31.18,51 (42.928)
 2. Marielle van Van Scheppingen (Ned)                   32.19,48
 3. Yvonne Brunen (Ned)                                  32.22,15
 4. Melchers (Ned)                                       32.25,35
 5. Van Kuik (Ned)                                       32.30,87
 6. Beltman (Ned)                                        32.29,38

Neo-amateurs (Under-23), 44.1 kms: 

 1. Duin (Ned)                                           59.08,55 (45.864)
 2. Bres (Ned)                                         1.00.02,19
 3. Boerman (Ned)                                      1.00.03,35
 4. Veneberg (Ned)                                     1.00.18,07
 5. Egelmeers (Ned)                                    1.00.47,33
 6. Wielinga (Ned)                                     1.00.48,13

Elite, 45.1 kms: 

 1. Patrick Jonker (Aus) Rabobank *                      57.47,68 (46.821)
 2. Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM                             57.47,68
 3. Wilco Zuijderwijk (Ned) Elite                        59.40,77
 4. Danny Nelissen (Ned) Team Home Jack and Jones        59.41,27
 5. Paul Van Schalen (Ned) Elite                         59.43,00
 6. Jens Koerts (Ned) Rabobank                         1.00.06,24
* Patrick is an Australian masquerading as a Dutchman!

Drugs Update

Festina to turn the page

Festina, who were excluded from the Tour de France for alleged collective doping hopes to clean its image up in Spain during the Vuelta where it will find a favourable public reaction after the troubles in July. On Saturday, they start in Cordoba and Alex Zulle and his teammates will face a public and press which has already denounced the French justice system and police as being heavy-handed and unfair. During the Tour of Burgos in August, Zulle has already experienced a strong and affectionate reaction from the public several weeks after he admitted that he had been part of the illegal drugs usage within the team. He was applauded and hounded by autograph hunters, Zulle (1997 Vuelta winner) issued a statement which thanked the Spanish public for their support of his team. He also said that he believed Spain truly loved him and that he loved it as a beautiful country.

To retrieve something of the 1998 season, Festina will line-up with a very strong team to support Zulle in the defence of his title. Richard Virenque, Laurent Dufaux and Pascal Hervé will all be riding and will be strong in the mountains. The team initially planned to concentrate on the Tour de France but have now completely changed their calendar. They have also introduced a new manager to help them "turn the page". Five days ago Festina appointed the Spaniard Juan Fernandez to replace the disgraced Bruno Roussel, who no longer has a licence to be part of cycle racing.

Fernandez, who was initially to begin in 1999, preferred to commence at the Vuelta so that he could get to know the team. He told the press: "I am ignoring much of the actual external situation currently. The feeling within the team is good. The riders are very motivated. The parcours for the Vuelta is difficult, but it is in accord with the profile of the team we are taking especially in terms of the 2 ITT's and the stage finishes on the mountains."

So how come the riders that have confessed to being part of the illegal doping racket within Festina and presumably riding better because of it are still riding? A confession of using banned substances is equivalent to a positive test even though none of them tested positive courtesy of their medical team's skill.

The UCI had initially demanded that the national cycling federations deal with the matter by September 13. So the Festina Swiss riders and Australia's Neil Stephens would have to face the music during the Vuelta and face suspension. But now, conveniently, the UCI has relaxed that deadline and instead say that October 1 is the date for resolution. Virenque will escape any sanctions anyway because he is steadfastly denying any involvement despite alleged documentation and alleged admissions from others to the contrary. It is a joke I think.

Navigators Update

The Navigators Cycling Team is headed up to Killington, VT for the 12th annual Killington Stage Race, also known as "The Beast of the East." This five-day stage race, held September 3 - 7, is well known for its tough climbing stages and dramatic finishes. With over 18,500 vertical feet of climbing during the 390 miles of racing, it will prove to be one of the most challenging races in the United States. Navigators riders Michael Engleman and Scott Moninger have won this race no fewer than three times between them, and have been on the podium after many individual stages. The Navigators Team will also be represented by Trent Klasna, Skip Spangenburg, Chris Washkevich and Paul Martin.

As previously announced, this will be Michael Engleman’s final race for 1998 as well as his 11 year career as a Professional Cyclist. There will be a press conference and ceremony following the Rutland Criterium on Sunday, September 6th at approximately 5:45PM. This ceremony will honor the accomplishments of Michael Engleman in addition to retirees Norm Alvis and Karen Bliss-Livingston (both Saturn).

On August 30th, Scott Moninger was second to Frank McCormack (Saturn) in the 15th annual Chris Thater Memorial Race, held in Binghamton, NY. This race is held each year as a benefit for the Broome County Stop-DWI program in the memory of Chris Thater, a cyclist who was killed by a drunk driver. It is also the 33rd stop on the 35-city National Racing Calendar (NRC). The NRC is USA Cycling’s season-long point series of the top events in the United States and serves to rank the best Professional and Amateur athletes, as well as teams.

Other recent results include the Tour of Kansas City, held August 22-23 in Kansas City, MO. In this two-day omnium, Scott Moninger won the opening day circuit race while teammate Todd Littlehales won the criterium the following day. Due to Scott’s 5th place finish in the criterium, he also won the overall title with Todd in second place. The Dividing Waters Omnium, held in Greenville, SC August 21-23, saw Skip Spangenburg on the podium three days in a row.

Skip won the opening day Time Trial and finished third in the next day’s stage 2 road race. Following the final day criterium, Skip was awarded the overall victory.